CLUELESS. (1995) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

CLUELESS. (1995) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY AMY HECKERLING. LOOSELY BASED ON JANE AUSTEN’S NOVEL, ‘EMMA.’

STARRING ALICIA SILVERSTONE, STACEY DASH, BRITTANY MURPHY, PAUL RUDD, DAN HEDAYA, WALLACE SHAWN AND TWINK CAPLAN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Daddy: ‘What did you do in school today, honey?’

Cher: ‘Well, I broke in my purple clogs.’

I have a bit of a girl crush on Alicia Silverstone, so I tend to think well of every film she makes. She’s just so watchable, with that fabulous mop of blonde hair and the wonderfully expressive mouth/face. In CLUELESS, she’s also very likeable, and not at all the raging bitch she could so easily be, with her glorious looks and charismatic personality. Well, I said I had a girl crush, lol.

She still looks amazing at forty-five, hardly much different to the girl who got famous in THE CRUSH (1993) with Cary Elwes, and also by starring in a couple of iconic videos for the rock band Aerosmith, alongside lead singer Steve Tyler’s daughter, the no less stunning Liv Tyler.

I’ve always found Liv Tyler, of LORD OF THE RINGS fame, to be rather blank-faced and kind of flat when it comes to performing, though, in contrast to Alicia Silverstone’s infinitely watchable and animated personas. No offence meant, Livvy love…!

Anyway, in CLUELESS, the romantic high school comedy with its own cult following, spin-off television series and series of Young Adult books, Alicia Silverstone plays the likeable but ultimately ‘clueless’ Cher Horowitz.

Cher is a rich, popular and beautiful student, who attends Bronson Alcott High School in Beverley Hills while living with her father Melvin, a temperamental rich lawyer. Cher’s mum died years ago from a liposuction treatment that went tits-up, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Cher is well liked at school, despite her obvious advantages, which should really make her the butt of terrible jealousy. Her best friend is Dionne, who is dating Murray, who says things like, ‘Woman, lend me some money!’

Cher and Dionne live for fashion, and for going to the mall and shopping till they drop, to the point where Cher’s socially conscious ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd) teases her about it. He says Cher is shallow and superficial and only cares about clothes and what she looks like on the outside, and this really rankles with Cher.

She wants to feel like there’s more to her than just being a clothes horse, and anyway, she’s given away tons of expensive Italian clothes to their European maid, Lucy, so what is Josh even talking about, anyway, the sap?

A matchmaking exercise on Cher’s part to bring together two rather goofy teachers, Mr. Hall (played by Wallace Shawn, who was Vizzini in THE PRINCESS BRIDE) and Ms. Geist, goes extremely well and Cher is pleased with the nice happy feelings it gives her, even though she only did it in the first place out of self-interest, namely, in order to get one of her poor grades ‘re-negotiated.’

Still, that nice, do-good-for-others feeling sticks with her and, when an utterly ‘clueless’ new girl joins the school- Tai Frasier, played by the late Brittany Murphy- Cher decides that it would be an act of charity on her part to take the gammy ugly duckling under her wing and turn her into a swan. Or a clone of herself and Dionne and the other cool girls at Bronson Alcott High School, more like.

The project has mixed results. Cher goes on to fancy a guy who turns out to be gay, then the guy she has earmarked for Tai only has eyes for her, Cher. Cher fails her driving test and, in an unrelated incident, gets mugged at knife-point, while she’s wearing an Alaia dress, if you can believe her bad luck and the terrible timing. To be mugged when you’re wearing Alaia? Unthinkable…

Then she finally realises that the man of her own dreams has been right in front of her all along, only now, someone else has expressed an interest in snagging this particular guy’s attention… the newly popular and fabulised Tai Frasier, who owes both her newfound popularity and her equally newborn fabulousness to Cher. Oh, the delicious irony of it all! Who will win the love of this guy? Cher… or her creation, Tai…?

There’s not much else to say about the movie, except that it was loosely based on Jane Austen’s light comedy EMMA, and several of the characters in CLUELESS correspond with characters in the novel.

Alicia Silverstone looks incredible through the film and is a great little comic actress too. I love her in straight or even nasty roles, for example, she played a very dangerous liar in THE CRUSH, but she has a gift for comedy too, and a delightfully expressive and mobile mouth and face to help her with that. Talk about blessed.

If you want to join the Alicia Silverstone Fan Club, just bung me a few quid here at my home address and I’ll see gets it, honest I will. We’re actually dead good mates on social media, me and her. At least, I think it’s her, could be one of those fan accounts, but anyway, watch the film if you haven’t already seen it.

It’s a good laugh, very of its time- the baggy pants, skateboarding ‘Nineties- and you might even pick up a few fashion tips, lol. Or find out how to get your teacher to change a grade you’re not happy with. I mean, you don’t want to be clueless, do you…?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

BOOK CLUB. (2018) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

BOOK CLUB. (2018) WRITTEN BY BILL HOLDERMAN AND ERIN SIMMS. DIRECTED BY BILL HOLDERMAN.
STARRING DIANE KEATON, JANE FONDA, CANDICE BERGEN AND MARY STEENBURGEN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘The next chapter is always the best.’

‘I want to have sex…!’

Wow. If you like films about elderly ladies sitting around talking about how they haven’t had sex in years and years and years, then, boy, do I have a film for you, lol. Four women have been friends and have attended a monthly book club for a staggering forty years, bonding over the books and developing really close friendships.

All the cliches about women’s book clubs are here, and are all also completely true. Drinking copious amounts of wine and snacking at the meetings, held in each other’s houses on a rotating basis. Minimal chatting about the book, as they are mostly using the opportunity to bitch about their husbands, living and deceased, and complain about the lack of sex in their lives or, if they’re still lucky enough to be having it, the poor quality of said nookie.

Diane Keaton plays Diane, recently widowed and with two grown-up daughters (one is played by a well-preserved Alicia Silverstone), who treat her like she has one foot in the grave, and is too senile to be let out on her own, which is ridiculous. Andy Garcia plays the millionaire pilot who’s trying to tempt her into a relationship, if her two daughters can ease up on the helicopter parenting for a minute.

Jane Fonda, still looking ridiculously sexy, plays Vivian, a successful, hotel-owning businesswoman who still has plenty of sex but who fears real love and commitment. If BOOK CLUB is SEX AND THE CITY meets THE GOLDEN GIRLS, which is what it feels like, then Vivian is the Samantha character and the Blanche character respectively. Don Johnson of MIAMI VICE fame plays the love of her life who can’t seem to get her to admit that she has feelings of similar depth for him as he undoubtedly has for her.

Candice Bergen is Federal Court Judge Sharon, who’s been divorced from Ed Begley Jr.’s character for eighteen years. Sharon hasn’t had sex since they split up, whereas ex-hubby Tom has a hot new blonde young girlfriend called Cheryl, to whom he’s engaged. The nerve of him. After all those years. After all she’s done for him…

Sharon decides to find love on a dating website. The first bloke lining up to be a hot lunch when she bangs the dinner gong is Richard Dreyfuss as George (Geddit??? See what I did there???), followed by Wallace Shawn from THE PRINCESS BRIDE as the diminutive Derek. Dating websites can be a bit hit-and-miss. Do they have what it takes to re-animate Sharon’s ‘lethargic pussy…?’ Hey, I’m only repeating what the vet in the movie said, lol.

Mary Steenburgen as Carol is happily married for donkey’s years to Craig T. Nelson’s Bruce. (COACH, POLTERGEISTS 1&2, STIR CRAZY, etc.) The recently retired Coach- I mean, Bruce- hasn’t wanted to have sex in ages, though, and Carol is really feeling the pinch.

Which do you think will work better to liven things up in the bedroom, slipping Viagra into Bruce’s drink without his knowledge or consent, or conducting a frank and honest conversation about where they’re at in their lives now that Bruce has retired and is, quite literally, feeling redundant in his own life…? I think you can probably guess the answer to that one, folks.

By the way, I’m not forgetting to mention that E.L. James’s erotic trilogy FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, FIFTY SHADES DARKER and FIFTY SHADES FREED is the reason that all four women suddenly start questioning their stagnant, unfulfilling or non-existent sex lives and whether or not they’ve been settling for much less than they deserve in the bedroom.

When Vivian brings along the books to their monthly club, they snigger and titter and protest a bit, but quickly they become immersed in the story of the sexual awakening of college student Anastasia Steele at the confident and masterful hands of billionaire Christian Grey, and it helps them to realise that, unless they put in a bit of effort themselves, their own lady-parts might become mere ‘caves of forgotten dreams,’ as one of the four ladies so succinctly puts it at one of their meetings.

E.L. James herself puts in a cameo appearance at one point, alongside her real-life husband Niall Leonard. The physical books can be seen in the film, with the familiar attractive covers, but actual references to their contents are light enough, hence the film’s rather surprising 12’s rating.

Older women will probably love the film and think it speaks to them. There’s an all-star cast that viewers will enjoy, especially as the female leads in particular all still look exceptionally well for their ages. Mary Steenburgen’s black hair and red dress, when she’s dancing on stage for her fund-raiser, makes her look like a splendidly joyful Kate Bush, my heroine.

Sadly, the film will probably just reinforce men’s notions that all women of any age ever want or need to be happy and fulfilled is a jolly good seeing-to, and that older women in particular, when they become too baggy and saggy to attract bees to their honey, are gagging for it all the time.

Oh, and any older women will be desperately grateful for a shag, if you’ll excuse my French. Bit unflattering, that notion that women can’t live happily without regular cock- excuse my French again- and that all women are just slaves to the Almighty Penis, but it’s hardly a new idea, I suppose.

No wonder so many blokes have inflated notions of their own importance. I have a willy, therefore I am a Master of the Universe. Sigh. Watch out for the sequel, anyway, which is meant to be coming out this year, God-and-Covid willing. That’s literally all I can say about this movie, lol. There is no more to add. Stay safe and keep warm, and ta-ra for a bit.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

THE CRUSH. (1993) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE CRUSH. (1993) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ALAN SHAPIRO. STARRING CARY ELWES, KURTWOOD SMITH, GWYNYTH WALSH, JENNIFER RUBIN AND ALICIA SILVERSTONE.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

It’s a bit disturbing to read that the writer and director of this ‘90s erotic thriller based his movie on a real-life experience of his own with a girl who later sued him for using her real name in the film. One wonders what the ‘woke’ battalion and the #metoo movement would make of it all.

Cary Elwes’s character in the film, a journalist called Nick Eliot, finds himself in a whole heap of trouble when he rents a rich couple’s guest-house and falls afoul of their beautiful young teenage daughter, as prime a piece of jail-bait as Nick has ever seen. Her name is Adrian Forrester, although she’d be better named Lolita…

I hope I’m not doing Alicia Silverstone (known for starring in CLUELESS, and in those three famous Aerosmith music videos from the early ‘90s, CRYIN’, AMAZING and CRAZY), who plays the fourteen-year-old Adrian, any disservice here by saying that she’s perfect for this role, her movie debut. Sexually precocious, flirtatious, seductive, fully aware of the effect she has on men and determined to get what she wants, by fair means or foul.

Nick is undeniably attracted to the gorgeous teenager, who’s apparently a child prodigy in various subjects as well as a smouldering Bardot-esque-type beauty. She reads WUTHERING HEIGHTS and Jane Austen, by choice, she’s a mini-Mozart on the ivories, she’s a keen entomologist, that is, an expert on insects, and a champion horse-rider and a talented writer to boot. Talk about the girl who has it all…! Just think about what she could achieve if she got her mind off men for a minute…

 Adrian makes it clear from the start that she’s smitten with the handsome twenty-eight-year-old reporter, and Nick is flattered, not altogether surprisingly. It’s not until the pair actually kiss, on the night of her parents’ party, that the scales seem to fall from Nick’s eyes and he finally realises what trouble he could be in if he pursues a sexual relationship with Adrian. Beautiful and sexually aware she may be, but she’s still only a child, and the adult in the situation must be the one to do the right thing.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, however, and Adrian turns extremely nasty when Nick tells her they can’t be together the way she wants. He’ll always be her friend, though, he promises her, and she can always count on him to be there for her if she needs him. One wonders if he would be so free with his avowals of undying friendship if she’d been acne-scarred and wearing braces on her teeth…

It’s not Nick’s friendship that Adrian wants, however. Now that she’s been rejected, everything of value in Nick’s life is under severe threat. His glittering new career at PIQUE magazine, his difficult boss’s high opinion of him, his (adult!) girlfriend Amy, a photographer from the same magazine, his beloved vintage car, which he’s lovingly restoring, and his own good reputation as a man who doesn’t rape and beat little girls. Yeah, things get really black there for Nick for a while. Will he ever see the light at the end of the tunnel again…?

It’s a bit far-fetched that Adrian manages to do all the things she does in the film without anyone suspecting her. She’s only a teenage girl, after all, and not Superman, but it’s an entertaining and gripping film, so we can probably excuse a few- well, a whole truckload of- loopholes.

The two leads are extremely good-looking, as I’m sure they both know (Carey Elwes is known for his roles in THE PRINCESS BRIDE and the SAW franchise), and the premise of the film is infinitely believable. Just look at FATAL ATTRACTION, SWIMFAN or PLAY MISTY FOR ME,  each of which have similar themes of rejection and a terrible revenge for same.

There’s a lotta trouble out there a guy can get himself into, if he messes with the feelings of the wrong woman. You’d think that would make men more careful, wouldn’t you, but no. Guys never learn, seemingly, and they will never stop being attracted to nubile underage females with unblemished bodies. One can’t blame them for that, for basic human biology; it’s what they choose to do about it that matters…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Stops-Sandra-Harris-ebook/dp/B089DJMH64
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1781994234